PWHL’s Toronto, Ottawa groups lock up high draft picks with coaching camps on horizon

With lower than per week to go earlier than coaching camps start, rosters are beginning to take form for groups within the Skilled Girls’s Hockey League (PWHL).

The PWHL has introduced greater than 70 signings within the new league, with sights set on starting play in January.

The largest signings this week have been a pair of first-round picks in Toronto defender Jocelyne Larocque (No. 2 total) and Ottawa defender Savannah Harmon (No. 5), who each locked in for 3 years.

Larocque, 35, is without doubt one of the most embellished members of Canada’s nationwide girls’s staff, with two Olympic gold medals, three world championship gold medals, two NCAA nationwide championships and a Clarkson Cup below her belt.

From Ste. Anne, Man., Larocque was named Manitoba’s Indigenous Feminine Athlete of the Decade in 2021.

The signing reunites Larocque along with her nationwide staff defensive accomplice, Renata Quick, giving Toronto arguably one of the best shutdown defensive pair within the league.

WATCH | CBC Sports activities’ Anastasia Bucsis speaks to Larocque after being drafted:

Jocelyne Larocque on being drafted 2nd total by Toronto at PWHL draft

Featured VideoAnastasia Bucsis speaks to defender Jocelyne Larocque of Ste. Anne, Man., about being drafted within the first spherical of the inaugural PWHL draft.

“We’re shut associates, we clearly have performed collectively for five-plus years now,” Larocque stated on the draft when requested about taking part in with Quick. “There is a consolation there and I am excited that we’ll be on the identical skilled staff collectively.”

“Jocelyne is without doubt one of the greatest defenders on the earth and is a fierce competitor that leads by instance on and off the ice,” Toronto GM Gina Kingsbury stated in an announcement after Larocque’s signing was introduced. “She is a foundational participant for us, and somebody we’re thrilled to construct our franchise round.”

Harmon, who’s from Downers Grove, Illinois, received a world championship with Workforce USA this previous spring, including to a resume that features two NCAA titles when she was captain of Clarkson College in 2017 and 2018.

Ottawa GM Mike Hirshfeld pointed to Harmon’s management qualities when asserting her signing.

“She is a whole hockey participant and can be an unimaginable asset for our staff,” Hirshfeld stated in an announcement.

The monetary phrases of the contracts have not been launched, however the collective bargaining settlement requires every staff to signal no fewer than six gamers to three-year contracts value not less than $80,000 US per season.

As of Friday afternoon, Boston led the way in which with 19 signings introduced. Groups should have a 23-player roster, plus two reserve gamers, set by Dec. 11.

A number of undrafted free brokers signed

Many of the contracts introduced over the previous few weeks have been for gamers who have been taken within the PWHL’s inaugural draft in September. However a number of groups introduced contracts at no cost brokers this week.

The signings embrace veteran goalie Erica Howe, who secured a one-year deal to play in Toronto. She’ll be part of goaltender Kristen Campbell, who’s signed to play in Toronto for 3 years.

Howe, 31, has virtually a decade of professional expertise with the Skilled Girls’s Hockey Gamers’ Affiliation and within the now-defunct Canadian Girls’s Hockey League, the place she received a league championship with Larocque as a member of the Markham Thunder in 2018. She is going to seemingly have some mentorship to supply 25-year-old Campbell.

A women's goalie, wearing a green and gold Clarkson University jersey, makes a save.
Erica Howe makes a save for Clarkson College within the girls’s NCAA Frozen 4 in 2014, when Clarkson received the nationwide title. She signed a one-year take care of PWHL Toronto. (Fred Beckham/The Related Press)

Boston followers will see a well-recognized face in Kaleigh Fratkin, an undrafted free agent who signed a one-year contract after spending six seasons with the Boston Delight within the now-shuttered Premier Hockey Federation (PHF).

Fratkin, who’s from Burnaby, B.C., was the very best scoring defender in PHF historical past, ending with 86 factors in 138 video games. She received league titles with Boston in 2021 and 2022 and was twice named Defender of the Yr. She additionally performed at Boston College and for the Boston Blades within the Canadian Girls’s Hockey League, the place she received a Clarkson Cup.

“She performs a punishing, shutdown defensive fashion that frustrates opponents whereas additionally displaying a powerful skill to drive performs from the again finish and contribute on offence,” Boston GM Danielle Marmer stated in an announcement.

Groups announce teaching hires

The PWHL plans to start play in January, however there are many inquiries to reply earlier than then.

The 24-game schedule for every staff hasn’t been launched but, nor has the league publicly confirmed venues for all six groups. The PWHL additionally hasn’t confirmed staff names, although trademark functions filed final month in Canada and the USA provide a glimpse at a number of prospects.

PWHL advisory board member Stan Kasten advised CBC Sports activities final month that the to-do record additionally included some issues most individuals most likely would not take into consideration: finding out transportation plans, securing insurance coverage and hiring extra employees, to call a number of objects.

Groups introduced a number of hires this week, together with specialised coaches, one thing that is not all the time been a given in skilled girls’s hockey.

Toronto has employed Stefanie Thomson as a video coach and Mike Ellis as a abilities coach. Thomson not too long ago received a gold medal with Canada’s U18 girls’s staff, whereas Ellis has labored within the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

New York additionally introduced it is employed two assistant coaches: former Toronto Maple Leafs robust man Colton Orr, who coached the PHF’s Connecticut Whale for the final 4 years, and Mike Sommer, who leaves his function as an assistant coach with the College of British Columbia girls’s hockey program.

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